While this column is purportedly about real estate project marketing and branding, any issue that impacts marketing in the real estate sector is, I believe, fair game. And this issue, while it impacts individual homeowners more than real estate developers, is very intriguing.
Up until now, the business of finding a real estate agent to market and sell your home has been a fairly olde worlde undertaking. It’s all about relationships and who you know and who your brother’s best friend is related to. Maybe it will stay that way for the foreseeable future, but, then again, maybe not. Meet, iBidBroker.com a new website, which has agents pitching themselves, their services and commission rates and ultimately bidding against one another to put a prospective seller’s property on the market.
In five easy steps iBidBroker.com will have a homeowner paired up with an agent of their choosing to sell their home. Sellers register for free, enter information about their property such as location, number of rooms, when they’d like to list and the approximate asking price, then the ibid-registered agents bid their services and compete for said business. And all of this happens from the privacy of a personal computer.
This is, of course, a completely new form of business in the real estate world. Traditionally, agents have never really had to compete to sell their services. Established agents have relied on flyers and outdoor and transit advertising and most importantly, word-of-mouth to increase business –– the clients came to them. But now the ball seems to be shifting to the seller’s court.
In-your-face headshots plastered on bus shelters don’t do it for clients any more. Why would they even bother to look up an agent from a bus shelter ad when at the click of a button they can have multiple agents lined up eager to work for them? They want to know agents are competing and working for their commission, and that their hard-earned dollar is going to someone who deserves it.
So what does this mean for real estate developers? I’m not entirely sure yet, but a couple of things come to mind. Perhaps referring realtors will get smart and assemble pools of buyers for a particular real estate development in a broader, more tech-based way than has been done before. Are you ready for a realtor to come knocking with 30 or 50 buyers ready to jump, as long as you negotiate and meet their demands? The idea of auctioning remaining inventory near the end of a project sales cycle is something newish, that many developers are trying. I think these group approaches are going to be more and more a part of our world as the ability of the Internet to connect people and allow them to collaborate begins to translate into commercial opportunities with increasing rapidity. Final verdict? Not sure exactly, but it’s something we all need to have on our radar.